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Latest posts by BobTheGardener

new years resolution

Posted: 31/12/2012 at 02:21
nutcutlet wrote (see)

Don't sow too thickly would be a good resolution for me. Plus don't prick out and grow on every seedling that germinates or I'll never keep up with the potting on, watering and planting out even if there was a space for it all.

Heheh - that's mine too!  Also not sowing too early, which I find difficult to resist!

Pride before a fall!

Posted: 31/12/2012 at 02:10

Hi Moonlit, I've been growing indoor cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum grandiflorum - the large scented ones) for a few years now and agree with the other comments - it's important that you let the seeds ripen on the plant and don't grow them in warm areas.  I find them easy to grow from seed - in my case I soak them for 24h, then just sow them on top of a pot of compost, cover in grit, water them once and leave until they germinate.  They produce a single normal leaf first (no 'seed leaves' like other plants.)  When the second or third leaf appears, I (very carefully, so as not to damage the roots!) prick them out into 3 inch pots, so the top of the tiny corm is just visible.   Mine are in flower now - lovely having them in full bloom over Christmas, and they'll go on flowering for months.  When they stop producing flowers, I drastically reduce watering and let most of the leaves die off.  In about July/August, they are usually completely dormant and I re-pot them in fresh compost, keeping most of the corm above the compost and cover the visible compost around the edges in grit.  I find they prefer a 5 inch pot when they are over 2 years old.  My oldest ones are now about 7yo and the corms have grown to about 4 inches across!   I'll add a photo or two tomorrow.

no blueberries

Posted: 29/12/2012 at 16:32

I don't see anyone saying to cut it back hard - just remove any dead/damaged shoots and maybe one of the oldest stems right down to the base, to encourage new shoots to grow from the base.

no blueberries

Posted: 29/12/2012 at 15:23

Now it's 4 years old, it probably does need a bit of pruning.  Berries grow on wood made last year, so you want to encourage new shoots and remove old unproductive ones:

Like others, I also recommend you get it a friend as self-fertile ones will always do much better if cross-pollinated.  Do use an ericacious feed as normal feed may not be taken-up well in ericacious soil.

Kaffir Lily

Posted: 29/12/2012 at 15:15

Hi Dove - snap!

Kaffir Lily

Posted: 29/12/2012 at 15:13

Hi Carol, Kaffir lilies can be propagated from 'offsets' which grow from the main tuber and can be easily separated.  However, Kaffirs resent being disturbed and like being pot-bound, so it could be risky.  Wait until after flowering, then try and release the rootball from the pot.  If you can see any offsets around the edges, it should be easy to pull them off and plant them in small pots without seriously damaging the main tuber.


Posted: 29/12/2012 at 15:00

Hi budlia63,  One reason for birds singing at night is from light pollution, if you live where there are lots of streetlamps which are on all night.  The effect gets worse in big towns when it is cloudy as the clouds reflect the light making it seem just like a dull day every night.  I live near a main road with huge lamps and some birds (particularly Robins) sing all night.  Unfortunately, it's not good for them:

Another theory is that it's noise pollution and in areas where it is very noisy during the day (again, probably near busy roads), they prefer to sing at night as they can't compete with man-made noise during the day:

Either way, it seems we humans are to blame.

Pruning rasperberry Canes

Posted: 26/12/2012 at 16:32

If you're not sure which variety they are, the easiest way to deal with them is to cut the canes to ground level immediately after fruiting, or as soon as possible after.  Many 'Autumn' varieties can be grown as either Summer or Autumn fruiting and as long as you only cut the canes that have fruited down, you'll get a crop from the remaining canes.  The thing to remember is that canes which have already fruited will rarely fruit again (and if they do, the crop from them will be small.)  Cutting fruited canes back encourages new shoots and the more of those you have which are strong and healthy, the more fruit you'll get.  If you leave unfruited but old "Autumn fruiting" canes alone, they will act like early Summer fruiting canes next year.

Talkback: Christmas traditions

Posted: 25/12/2012 at 17:45

Merry Christmas everyone!

I just had potatoes, carrots, parsnips, brussels, swede and winter squash with my Christmas dinner, all of which I picked from my garden this morning (apart from the squash, which was harvested in Oct.), so I'm very much with donutsmrs here!

I've done this for over 30 years and it's definitely my main Christmas tradition, as it was my fathers!  It was a very messy/muddy job to harvest everything, so my thoughts are on those who have been flooded recently, and (of course) those around the globe who rely on aid be be able to eat at all.

Best wishes to all, Bob


Posted: 23/12/2012 at 15:43

Growing climbing beans with sweetcorn works well.  These are two of the "three sisters" growing method (google it), the 3rd being squashes.  The beans fix nitrogen with nodules on their roots which helps feed the sweetcorn (which loves any feed with high nitrogen.)  The beans can be trained to grow up a sweetcorn stem and across to others, helping to support them against wind damage, instead of using twine as you normally do when growing sweetcorn in a block.  I normally plant a couple of bean seeds next to each corn plant, once the maize plants are about 30cm tall (if you plant them when the corn is too short, the beans will grow too fast.)

Of course, we need a reasonably sunny summer to grow sweetcorn in the UK - this year was a disaster!

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1 to 15 of 24 threads